A smart man once told me there are five key things related to improving (and maintaining) mental health:
1. Psychotherapy that changes the way you think that leads to changes in behavior.
2. Meditation, yoga, diaphragmatic breathing, or some kind of emotional self-regulation.
3. Exercise – he specifically mentioned martial arts, but it's really about finding something you love so you're more likely to do it. (If you haven't tried it, boxing or kickboxing is great for relieving stress and anxiety).
4. Medication – it usually takes trying 2-3 different kinds to get it right and staying on it for at least 6-9 months.
5. Five or more important people in your life that you can talk to or turn to with things. Count them up and cultivate these kinds of friendships in your life.
At different times in our lives, we may need some of these more than others, such as psychotherapy or medication. And some of us may never need medication, while others may need it daily, and that's okay. Other things on this list are ideal for daily practice. No one is perfect, so don't beat yourself up if you don't fit in exercise or meditation one day. For me, the negative self-talk becomes more damaging than the thing I didn't do.
Of these five things, what are you already doing?
Today is a great day to try something new.